What does this mean for the Tourism Sector?
As of January 1st, 2023, the minimum wage in Curaçao has increased by 11.2%, from 9.62 guilders to 10.70 guilders an hour.
CHATA notes that the last time the minimum wage was adjusted was in 2018 and has not increased during the pandemic years. It further notes that Curaçao’s Central Bureau of Statistics reports that inflation has grown 18.9% between October 2018 and October 2022, the most current month for which data are available, and that therefore an increase was justified to offset the substantial increase in the cost of living for the majority of the population which depends upon the minimum wage. So, for these reasons CHATA thinks an increase seems both reasonable and unavoidable.
However, CHATA cautions the Government that many of its members, particularly its many small business members, are still struggling to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
Consequently, CHATA requests the Government to consider assistance to small businesses by implementing actions which bring the costs of doing business down. For example, lower import duties, the reduction of harbor costs and the reduction in the cost of electricity. To implement new labor laws together with a less restrictive policy for the employment of foreign workers, which will allow the hospitality sector to operate more efficiently and allow it to become more competitive.
This latter echoes the statement of the Central Bank which recommends that Curaçao’s economy must become more resilient to economic shocks and that the productivity of the local economy must increase.
CHATA wishes to remind the Government that the tourism sector is the future for Curaçao and that helping the sector move forward in an efficient and productive way will be highly beneficial for the country, the Government, and the population as a whole.